HATE RATES.... ***** BIBLE **** TABLOID *** COMIC ** CHIP PAPER * PULP
An Oral history
By John Robb
Paperback 535 pages (February 27, 2006)
Publisher: Ebury Press
Here we go again yet another John Robb punk project. JR is fast
becoming a one man punk history industry, and I'm sure with it
being punks 30th anniversary this year, he'll not be short of work.
He's always there! Everytime one of those lets go back to the
70's, 80's, 90's retro no budget compilation tv programmes is
screened, there he is giving his opinions on various styles of
music and old tv shows, or whatever is relevant to that decade.
He was on former daytime television's golden couple, Richard and
Judy's talk show promoting this book and marking 30 years of
Anarchy a few months back. Alongside the punky company of
Captain Sensible, Toyah ("it's a miszzteweee!"-PDC) and Pete
Shelley. All of whom have more to crow about than him. But he
totally hijacked the interviews, butting in at every opportunity.
No-one else stood a chance, he was so hyper on the subject. All
this over exposure throughout the years has made me question
his motives and has probably unfairly clouded my judgement of
him. I do like some of Goldblade's stuff. Maybe like the rest of
us he's just an over excited fan of vintage punk and a good guy
as I've been told by friends who know him personally? So its with
this frame of mind I reluctantly bought the book. Plus it featured a
few old pals of mine and I wanted to check out their memories of
my hometown punk scene.
First off John puts up his defence for how hard it was to be a punk in Blackpool way back then. Well mate let me tell you
from experience, you should have tried it here in Belfast, then you would really have had something to complain about!
The book reads like a massive glossy mag interview and this is no bad thing. It's very enjoyable and easy to get through.
You won't get bogged down in theories or conspiracies. Anyone who knows their punk history is not going to learn a lot of
new facts, but there's bits and pieces that will surprise and inform everyone who reads it. There's some good pics of Don
Letts I'd never seen before. And the large cast of characters interviewed is a plus point, as most of them would normally
never get a chance to have their say. It's not exclusively the usual suspects who appear everytime punk is mentioned
these days, apart from the author himself and a few others. I really liked it and I think that its a great book for anyone
wanting to reminisce or for someone who wants to look back as they missed out first time round. Especially if they're
thinking of attempting to tackle the self important high brow elitist, athough great Jon Savage book "Englands
Dreaming". I liked it better than the recently overrated Andy Blade book which in my opinion after a good start ran out of
steam half way through. Real life experience is not as much fun as juicy personal stories from punks early days. John
Robb just stays in the background most of the time and doesn't interfere too much in the 535 pages, as the interviewees
tell the punk rock story through their own experiences right up to the 1984 cut off date. Well Worth Buying! ****
Joe Donnelly Belfast 23/4/06